A Three Speed Bike Date

Urban Adventure League

Sunday August 12th. It was a nice day out, starting cloudy but ending up mostly sunny with a high of 76F/24C. Neither Emee or myself had obligations. So we decided to go on a little bike date, a ride around town with no firm plan in mind.

We got out our three speeds: for Emee, her green Raleigh Sports circa 1974. I decided to take out the Robin Hood path racer since it’s been awhile since I’ve ridden it. After a late brunch, we headed west towards the Willamette River.

After checking out a new street, we decided to hang out a while in South Waterfront Park. I’ve been really digging this greenspace next to the Vancouveresque glass towers that constitute South Waterfront, and am looking forward to a more improved, more connected Willamette Greenway (the path that runs the west bank of the river south of downtown.) They were…

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A ride on a Clubman: A member “post”

vdjl3ahSociety of Three Speeds member Gary B. in the Twin Cities wrote up a ride report of a ride on the Cannon Valley Trail in Minnesota. This ride was on his new-to-him 1949 Raleigh Clubman. Via Bikeforums:

Sunday morning was a special treat; I drove down to Cannon Falls to ride the Cannon Valley Trail. Starting in Cannon Falls rather than Redwing gave me the opportunity to begin and end my ride at Nick’s Downtown Diner. I got my favorite table, right by the window, where I could see my bike locked up outside…”The Bomber” chili-cheese omelet was perfect fuel for the longish ride ahead.

After breakfast, I headed out on the trail. The green tag on the stem is what you get when you pay the user fee – $5 for the day, or $25 for the season…I hit the trail with my 70 year-old steed, and cranked it up to warp speed…and ended the ride at the same table in Nick’s Diner.

That was a thoroughly enjoyable Sunday ride. I’m going to do it again once the leaves start turning.

For more pics, go here.

The All-British Cycling Event, Twin Cities, Sept 13-15 Sept 2019

From the 2010 Event. Photo: Joe Reinemann.

Hello friends of Three Speeds! While this event isn’t three-speed specific (they allow derailleur’d bikes, so long as it’s British) it is very much in the vein of what we like! And it is put on by Jon Sharratt of Gentlemen Cyclist and the Lake Pepin Three Speed Tour!

Here’s what Jon is saying:

Facing the terrifying prospect of a comfortable and quiet retirement, many of us have turned to rusty English bicycles as a diversion. Perfect for making your escape, they are cheaper and faster than digging a tunnel and far more dignified than most any “modern” activity.
Other Rolls and Royces:
  • Every year we claim Barley John’s “In the name of the Queen and for all the Riders of the Realm”. Well enough; this year we simply must remember to give it back.
  • The events and times remain mostly unchanged this year with a couple of exceptions. The Saturday Gentleman’s Tour will feature an alternate route to Swede Hollow in St. Paul. A bit of an embarrassment, this, since this is an “All-British” event after all but with the help of Rick “Sven” Paulos, we will split at the City House on the riverfront. Those wishing to return to Merlin’s Rest may do so and the rest can carry on to the Hollow.

The All-British Cycling Event (ABCE) will happen on the weekend of September 13-15, 2019 in and around Minneapolis.

More from Jon:

 We will have tours, tea, a banquet, presentations, displays, prize drawings, hub  gears, plus fours, treats and awards along with stories both true and otherwise.  We will not  have lycra, path racing, pass storming or massed start races and instead we  focus on the social aspects of English cycling for the  Gentleman Cyclist  or cycling hobbyist. The Gentleman’s Tour on both  Saturday and Sunday will be a relaxed pace; Saturday we will take in the sights  of Minneapolis and St. Paul. The shorter Sunday tour will wind through the  streets and parks of St.Anthony and include the  Gravity Race and  Day-Old Pastry Joust.

Sounds lovely! I hope to make it out there someday. For full deets and registration, go here.

Here is a video about the 2017 event.

Postcard Club memberships through 2020 now available!

Urban Adventure League

Hello friends! We are more than half-way through 2019, but there are still more Urban Adventure League/Society of Three Speeds events on the docket. Besides the one depicted here, there will be at least one more postcard for the year.

So, I’ve decided to refresh the Postcard Club action. Right now you can purchase a membership that will be good through the end of 2020. Yes, you’ll get all the remaining postcards for this year, plus all postcards for 2020!

You can buy or renew a membership for $16 plus postage. Go to my Storenvy Shop to do so. (If you want to do it via post, please get in touch.) And remember, I send to anywhere in the world!

I realize that most of you won’t be able to go on these events. So if you are wondering why should you become a part of Postcard Club, ask…

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Three Speed Ride, 5 October 2019

Hello, friends of Three Speeds! The bad news is that I won’t be doing the multi-day Three Speed Tour down the Willamette Valley* in September. I’ve got other stuff going on, and really want to do a pre-ride of it first. But, I will have a nice day ride in early October!

Meet me on Saturday October 5, 11 AM, at the Paul Bunyan statue in Kenton (intersection of N Interstate/Denver/Argyle), across from the Kenton MAX station. We’ll depart at 11:30 AM for a fifteen mile cruise around the reaches of North Portland. This one will be an “open class” ride, meaning all bikes are welcome, but three speeds (obviously) preferred. We’ll have a tea stop somewhere along the way, bring your own tea and way to make it (stove, etc.) or bring pre-brewed tea. (Coffee OK too.) Ride is not a loop, but it will end near food/drink and transit.


*Yeah, I know, technically it’d be up.

Who is Society of Three Speeds for, anyway?

I’ve been doing this Society of Three Speeds for over seven years. (I’ve been leading Three Speed Rides for nine!) During these seven years, over 220 fine folks have joined the Society. (Thank you, everyone!) I had figured that, by now, people would figure out who this “club” is for. But maybe I haven’t spelled it out enough?

Case in point: I recently got a letter from someone who found out about the Society. After letting me know that they liked three speeds yet disliked organized rides,* they concluded the letter with a point-blank question: “Why should I join your organization?”

I had never had anyone ask me this. Up until now, no one had asked me to “sell” SoTS to them (at least, not in that manner.) Instead, what I usually get is someone who tells me that they’d like to join the Society, but doesn’t live in Portland and therefore is disqualified from membership.** So then I have to tell them that yes, they can join, since this is an International organization. People join from all over the world, many (if not most) have not (and may never) set foot in the Pacific Northwest.

So this got me thinking: Who is this “club” for? And I came up with three (of course!) easily digestible reasons:

  1. You like getting cool stuff in the mail. The big thing you get when you purchase a membership is a swell amount of swag. It includes a patch, buttons, some stickers, a postcard or two, an introductory guide, etc. Oh yeah, the membership card. Most people don’t get anything cool in the mail anymore. Joining the Society remedies this.
  2. You like joining a pseudo-serious “bike club” of like-minded individuals. The whole idea of this thing is to not be (insert your local road-racing club here.) There are no boring meetings, no “minutes recorded”, no in-fighting. Instead, you are “joining” a group of folks who share a common interest, and in the name of fun. Think of similar groups like the Tarik Saleh Bike Club or the League of Caffeinated Wheelers.*** What have you do to become a member of either? For TSBC it’s “ride bikes, try not to be an ass”. For LCW, it’s “ride bikes, like coffee”. Nothing more to that. Do you want to be in a club of folks who like three speeds?
  3. You are a fan of three speeds. I guess the best and easy way to describe SoTS is that it’s a fan club for three speeds. It’s a way to show to the world that three speeds are viable and valuable. Why did people join the David Cassidy Fan Club? Because they liked David Cassidy. Why do people join Society of Three Speeds? Because they like three speeds!

Hopefully that answers the question. Yes, the rides and challenges are cool. But ultimately, it’s all about a love of the three speed bicycle. So, do you like three speeds? Don’t delay, join today!


*But curiously this same person asked if there were any organized three speed rides in their area.

**This, of course, is immaterial. You do not have to be a member to participate on my rides. I have never “closed off” the rides to members only. I’d guess about 50% of people who show up to my rides are members.

***Both of whom (Tarik and Brad) are members of Society of Three Speeds.